The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Office of Community Service Learning are teaming up for Black Out Hunger Week Nov. 15-21.
Black Out Hunger Week is part of a Conference USA initiative to unite member institutions through a community outreach competition. The institution with the largest amount of donated canned goods wins.
Kickoff of this event begins at the Southern Miss vs. East Carolina Black Out football game Nov. 15. Recreational Sports, Greek Life and the Office of Student Activities also will join the effort in the collection of canned food items at various locations across the Hattiesburg campus and during Southern Miss athletic events.
Last year, the OCSL alone collected 6,500 canned food items during its annual food drive, said Josh Duplantis, OCSL manager. However, with the partnership of several Southern Miss groups, Duplantis said he hopes for even a larger amount of donations.
"We're very excited to have the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on board, along with C-USA," Duplantis said. "To add them, and the support they bring, will only make this bigger. People don't realize the poverty that we have in this area, and how many people really do need this food."
The canned food items will be given to Christian Services and the Edwards Street Fellowship Center to distribute among the community.
Gerald McRath, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representative and Southern Miss football player, said even giving just one canned good may go a long way in helping someone in need.
"Even if it's just one can, a little bit adds up to a lot," McRath said. "Think about all the people on our campus; and if we each donate canned food, how much that can add up."
McRath, a native of Powder Spring, Ga., said Hattiesburg deserves every Southern Miss student's attention this holiday season.
"This community has definitely been my home away from home," he said. "I want to strive for its better achievement."
The following are Black Out Hunger Week drop-off points for canned food items.
• Nov. 15: Black Out Hunger Week kicks off at the Southern Miss vs. East Carolina Black Out football game. Fans may bring canned goods to the Southern Miss equipment truck which will be located on Golden Eagle Avenue next to Pride Field. Collection will begin at 10 a.m. on game day and will end 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Additional drop-off locations will be on the east, west and south sides of The Rock.
• Nov. 17-21: Faculty, staff and students may bring canned goods during business hours to the Office of Community Service Learning, located in the Hub, room 104. Bin also will be located in McLemore Hall, the Thad Cochran Center and the Payne Center.
• Nov. 18: Receive half price admission to the Southern Miss Golden Eagle Basketball game vs. Alabama State with three canned goods. Bring canned goods to east side ticket booth at Reed Green Coliseum.
• Nov. 21: Black Out Hunger Week ends at noon with the weigh-in of canned goods 1:30 p.m. Distribution to centers will begin immediately.
For more information, call Lauren Hillman at 601.266.5472 or Josh Duplantis at 601.266.6467.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.